IPVanish can be run on any computer and mobile devices. It is capable of simultaneously using different types of connections. Paying with Bitcoin gives users additional security features as cryptocurrency cannot be tracked unlike government currency. This is because information required when paying with bitcoin are but an email address and a password.
With 1,000 physical servers in 136 geographical locations across 87 countries, ExpressVPN’s focus is on speed. You don’t want a slow VPN when you can have a fast one, and ExpressVPN offers privacy on top of this with PTP, L2TP, and OpenVPN protocol support. For $6.67/month on a 12-month plan with 3 months free, you get a wide range of top VPN features, no logging, and Tor support (ExpressVPN has a .onion website, too).
Yet Mullvad is worth a look because it's extremely private. It asks nothing about you when you sign up. Instead, it assigns you a random number that will be your combined username and password. You don't have to provide an email address, and you can pay by mailing cash to the company's headquarters in Sweden. (Mullvad also takes credit cards, PayPal, bitcoin and wire transfers, and offers 30-day money-back guarantees for those.) Unexpectedly, it was pretty versatile at streaming Netflix from overseas — it didn't always get through, but in no country we tried was it always blocked.
The service supports Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices, but manual connection through Linux, BlackBerry, Boxee Box, HP WebOS or DD-WRT is also possible. It likewise allows users to use up to five devices using the account. PureVPN’s proprietary gigabit network ensures uptime and extremely fast speeds. It offers unlimited bandwidth, which is ideal for users who like video streaming or playing online games.
Corporate and Exit Locations: Depending on what you’re using a VPN for, your service’s location—and the exit locations you can choose—are important to consider. If you want to get around a location restriction and watch live TV in the UK, for example, you want to make sure your VPN service provider has servers in the UK. If you’re concerned about privacy or state-sponsored snooping, you may want to pick a service operated outside of your home country. Similarly, if the service is based on the US, they’re subject to US laws, and may be forced to turn over usage data to the authorities upon request. Many people make more of this than they should (we’ve seen overseas services turn over their data to friendly governments without any hesitation repeatedly), but it’s important to make sure a VPN has servers in multiple locations—or at least the location you’re interested in—when shopping.
Using a VPN, all data traffic is confined to a private, encrypted tunnel until they reach the public Internet. Destinations cannot be accessed until after the end of the VPN tunnel is reached. VPN services are quite useful in workplaces, especially for those who use mobile devices in accessing data from a work server. However, the most common use of VPN software is to remain anonymous to ISPs, websites or governments. This is true for users who download files illegally, such as in the case of copyrighted torrent files.
Thankfully, there's a workaround for this problem. Instead of using the VPN app from the company from which you've purchased a subscription, you can download the standalone OpenVPN app. Open it, and you can enter your subscription information from the VPN company you've decided to work with. The OpenVPN app will then connect to the VPN company's servers using our preferred protocol.
Another major concern with VPNs is speed. In general, using a VPN is going to increase your latency (or your "ping"), and decrease the speed at which you upload or download data. It's very difficult to say definitively which VPN will have the least impact on your browsing, but extensive testing can give you some idea which service is the fastest VPN.
We have a pretty comprehensive guide to BitTorrent, where we talk about P2P traffic, downloading files, selecting torrent repositories, and everything else in between. This will let you learn the basics, which is when you can read our articles on how to stay legal when torrenting as well as how to spot fake torrents. And we also shouldn’t forget our article on the best torrent search engines that will let you browse millions of files with ease.
PureVPN has servers in more than 140 countries and can be very inexpensive if you pay for two years up front. It also lets you "split-tunnel" your service so that some data is encrypted and other data isn't. But PureVPN was at or near the back of the pack in almost all of our 2017 performance tests. In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice disclosed in a criminal complaint that PureVPN had given the FBI customer logs in reference to a cyberstalking case, which kind of negates the entire point of using a VPN.
ProtonVPN is a VPN from Switzerland. The software is easy to use and provides all the features necessary to keep your data secure both at home and while on public WiFi. Servers are located around the world, and because ProtonVPN uses a Secure Core network of servers – it will provide fantastic speeds for streaming. Proton permits P2P for torrenting on some of its servers. In addition, it can be installed and used on five simultaneous devices. That means you can protect all your devices with one account. The VPN is zero logs (it never stores IP addresses) and the time of your last session is deleted every time a new session is started.
We’ve previously reviewed the “VPN” built into the Opera browser in these group tests, even though it’s an HTTP proxy, rather than a true VPN. However, recent changes following Opera’s sale of endpoint provider SurfEasy to Symantec in November 2017, including a drop in the number of endpoints and a performance hit for non-European services, have rendered it less useful for accessing region-restricted content, and we will no longer be including it.
VyperVPN offers two subscription packages, with options to be billed either monthly or annually. We suggest selecting the annual option as it will save you quite a bit of money. That said, VyprVPN isn’t very cheap and if you want to test out the service before buying, there’s only a three-day period to do it for free. We were told by the customer service that VyprVPN does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, depending on the link used. Most of the time though, you’ll just get the three-day testing period.
There are many choices when it comes to VPN providers. There are some Virtual Private Network providers who offer free service and there are some which charge for VPN service. We have found that the paid VPN providers such as VyprVPN are preffered to the free service providers. Paid VPN providers offer robust gateways, proven security, free software, and unmatched speed. Compare VPN Providers using the data our friends over at VPN.com have compiled to find the right VPN for you.
You’ve probably heard that we’ve run out of IP addresses and that’s technically true. IPv4 consists of 32 bits and can support 4.29 billion addresses. All of those available addresses have been allocated, but not all of them have been used and the overwhelming majority of internet addresses are IPv4 addresses. The latest IP version, IPv6, uses 128-bit addresses and can support 340,282,366,920,938,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 addresses. Now that IPv6 is available, we won’t have to worry about IP address scarcity again anytime soon.
VPNs also only do so much to anonymize your online activities. If you really want to browse the web anonymously, and access the dark web to boot, you'll want to use Tor. Unlike a VPN, Tor bounces your traffic through several server nodes, making it much harder to trace. It's also managed by a non-profit organization and distributed for free. Some VPN services will even connect to Tor via VPN, for additional security.
UK FTP and HTTP performance with CyberGhost hovered just under 5MB/s (40Mbit/s). Testing endpoints in the Netherlands yielded around 7MB/s (56Mbit/s), while in the United States, we managed just 2MB/s (16Mbit/s). This is passable for standard web browsing and video streaming but could be a bottleneck if you have a fast internet connection and want to download large files while connected to your VPN. These scores are slightly slower than they were earlier in the year – remember that any speed test only provides a snapshot of a brief period of time.
That said, many VPN providers are based outside the US, which complicates enforcement. Jerome continued: “Users can file complaints in a local jurisdiction, and local data protection laws may have more effective enforcement mechanisms. For example, privacy and confidentiality of communications are fundamental rights in the European Union. Data protection authorities in EU-member states are empowered to handle complaints brought by individuals and then provide users with information about the outcome of any investigation. But it is unclear how effective any of these remedies will be.”
With TorGuard, anonymity is the name of the game, so copyright pirates as well as Usenet fans and deep web visitors have nothing to worry about using the service. The downside is that TorGuard’s best servers need to be subscribed to separately, which will set you back a few extra dollars per month on top of the subscription fee. Then again, that could be worth it.
I am not sure VPNs really do as advertised. The "modem" provided by your ISP is preset to go to the servers of the ISP. Correct? Usually, the ISP will not give you access to the settings within the "modem". Correct? So, if traffic is still going thru your ISP, are we actually bypassing data caps? And wouldn't this also apply to DNS servers? "Modem" still has to go thru ISP. I understand how the web site being addressed is fooled, but none of this does anything to/for the ISP.
One of today’s leading VPN providers and another worthy mention on our list of top 20 VPN services, PureVPN is known for its service quality and customer support. The service has 450 servers in 101 countries, allowing users to surf the Internet and use any online solution without having to reveal their IP address. This is very useful to those who want to bypass Internet censorship.
Put simply, a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is a group of computers (or discrete networks) networked together over a public network—namely, the internet. Businesses use VPNs to connect remote datacenters, and individuals can use VPNs to get access to network resources when they’re not physically on the same LAN (local area network), or as a method for securing and encrypting their communications when they’re using an untrusted public network. Photo by Pavel Ignatov (Shutterstock).
We also dove deeper into the desktop apps of the top-performing services. Great apps have automatic location selection, easy-to-use designs, and detailed but uncluttered settings panels. We set up each service’s Android app on a Samsung Galaxy S8 running Android 7.0 Nougat. We took into account how easy each one was to set up and connect, along with what options were available in the settings pane.
Another example showing the value of VPNs is using these services to access blocked websites. Some governments have decided that it is in their best interest to block certain websites from access by all members of the population. With a VPN, those people can have their web traffic securely tunneled to a different country with more progressive policies, and access sites that would otherwise be blocked. And again, because VPNs encrypt your traffic, it helps protect the identity of people who connect to the open internet in this way.
TorGuard also lacks extra features that are nice to have, like automatically connecting to the VPN when you’re on an unknown Wi-Fi network (which IVPN offers) or split-tunneling to choose which apps do and don’t route through the VPN (which ExpressVPN supports). And it offers no option to automatically connect to the fastest server, a feature our top pick lacks as well. But if you have above-average knowledge of networking, you’ll appreciate TorGuard’s more in-depth settings pane, which allows you to add scripts or kill specific processes when the VPN disconnects—neither our top pick nor popular services like Private Internet Access allow that kind of control.
Finally, you may want a VPN to spoof your location to download content you shouldn’t have access to, but this too has limits. A VPN used to be the go-to solution to watch U.S. Netflix overseas. That changed in 2016 when Netflix opened up to almost every country on Earth. Since then, the company has invested a lot in detecting and blocking VPN users. Even people using a VPN inside their own country will be blocked by Netflix if detected.
If you frequent ThePirateBay, uTorrent, RARBG, Putlocker or KickassTorrents, however, chances are what you download from these torrenting sites is not legal. Government authorities can fine you for committing a civil offense, while ISPs and copyright holders will threaten and in some cases follow through on legal action. While it’s unlikely that a record company will take someone to court, they might seek damages through settlements.
With a StrongVPN account, customers have the ability to choose which server location they want, even down to the specific city. This type of personalized, user-friendly service is also seen with their unlimited server switching, as well as the ability to have up to six simultaneous connections on different devices. StrongVPN supports Mac, Windows, iOs, Android, and even multiple routers, which is a huge plus.
As we previously noted, we don’t recommend relying on our picks to get around geographic restrictions on copyrighted content. The practice is likely illegal, and it violates the terms of service of your ISP, VPN, and content provider. On top of that, it often doesn’t work—we couldn’t access Netflix over any of the services we tried, and of the four streams we loaded on BBC iPlayer, only two worked a few days later.
PPTP - PPTP has been around since the days of Windows 95. The main selling point of PPTP is that it can be simply setup on every major OS. In short, PPTP tunnels a point-to-point connection over the GRE protocol. Unfortunately, the security of the PPTP protocol has been called into question in recent years. It is still strong, but not the most secure.
There are also those countries where strict laws mean that people can be arrested for simply sharing their political views, speaking out against the government, or for posting things anti-Islam (such as many Middle Eastern countries including Turkey and the UAE). A VPN encryption solves all these issues, and allows citizens more freedom of speech, without having to fear arrest.
Christian Cawley is a Deputy Editor at MakeUseOf, covering security, Linux, DIY and programming, with extensive experience in desktop and software support. Christian is a regular contributor to Linux User & Developer magazine, as well as specials including Raspberry Pi for Beginners, and Raspberry Pi for Kids. He's a Raspberry Pi tinkerer, Android user, podcaster and foodie.
In this day and age internet users are being threatened from every angle. Cyber thieves are always on the hunt, trying to steal easily accessible unsecured data, and e-commerce companies will do their very best to bombard you with invasive and annoying ads. Many of these ads are based on your browsing history and directed straight at you, by simply using a VPN and encrypting your data, you can reduce the amount of spam mail and targeted ads you receive.
IPVanish has a clear no-logging policy and is based in the USA, which doesn’t legally require logging of user activity. By the same token, there’s few data protection requirements and, in 2016, when it was owned by its previous parent company Highwinds, IPVanish handed over detailed connection information for use as evidence by the US Department of Homeland Security, even though it claimed to keep no logs at the time. Current owner StackPath says it intends to honour its no logging policy, but it’s not clear whether any technical changes have been implemented to ensure this.
The quality of customer support may be excellent but responses can be slow. It’s not the best option for China either. So while NordVPN falls a little short of ExpressVPN overall, on a three-year subscription, it works out a lot cheaper at $2.99 per month. So if you want to keep monthly costs down or only care about core performance, NordVPN is the ideal choice.
It can be made to work at a push in China but there’s better options available. Customer support is improving. IPVanish isn’t cheap but it only requires a two-year commitment to slash the monthly price by 72% to a reasonable $3.33. If P2P is your priority then IPVanish really is a superb VPN for both privacy and performance that will also cover many other needs.
While you're connected to a VPN, all your network traffic passes through this protected tunnel, and no one—not even your ISP—can see your traffic until it exits the tunnel from the VPN server and enters the public internet. If you make sure to only connect to websites secured with HTTPS, your data will continue to be encrypted even after it leaves the VPN.